Weight loss surgery, also called bariatric surgery, is designed to help you lose weight and reduce the risk of medical problems attributed to being obese or morbidly obese. There are several kinds of weight loss surgery available, and they control weight loss in two ways. One way is physically limiting the amount of food that the stomach can hold. The other is malabsorption, which is a surgical technique that shortens the small intestine. This, in turn, reduces the number of calories and nutrients that the body absorbs. These three common surgeries use one or both strategies to help you lose weight. This is what you need to know to decide which one is a good solution for you.
Gastric bypass is perhaps the most common and popular of all weight loss surgeries. Gastric bypass surgery involves sectioning off the top of the stomach to form a pouch. The small intestine is then divided in half, and a part of it is connected to the new stomach pouch. Ultimately, it reduces your food intake and it lowers calorie absorption rates. This surgery has several distinct advantages. One is that it enables dramatic long-term weight loss – up to 80% of excess weight! It also changes hormones in the digestive system to suppress appetite. Many patients are able to be more active at their new weight, which increases energy expenditure and can further or at least maintain a new weight.
However, there are several disadvantages to note, too. Since vitamin intake is restricted, the surgery may cause long-term vitamin deficiencies. Patients must usually follow lifelong dietary guidelines to ensure they get enough vitamins and nutrients. Since gastric bypass surgery is more complex, it usually requires a longer hospital stay than other types of weight loss surgery.
In a sleeve gastrectomy surgery, approximately 80% of the stomach is separated from the main stomach and removed from your body. The remaining smaller stomach cannot hold as much food as your original stomach. The new stomach also produces less of a hormone called ghrelin, which is responsible for regulating appetite and hunger. A major benefit is that you will feel less hungry and eat less. Another advantage of sleeve gastrectomy is that can cause significant weight loss at a fast rate. This is good news for high-risk patients who need to lose weight to avoid medical problems. Lastly, sleeve gastrectomy has a relatively short hospital stay of about two days.
As with any surgery, there are some risks and disadvantages, too. One disadvantage is that sleeve gastrectomy surgery is permanent. This means that you will have to follow a weight management plan afterwards. This type of surgery can also cause vitamin deficiencies in the long run. Early complication rates are higher with this surgery than other types of bariatric surgery.
Laparoscopic Adjustable Gastric Banding
Laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding (“banding”) is another common weight loss surgery. In this surgery, a band is placed around the upper part of the stomach. This divides the stomach into an upper pouch and a larger lower section. The band controls the amount of food that one can consume, which in turn creates a feeling of fullness and suppresses appetite. Over time, the band is adjusted upwards so that it continues to reduce food intake. There are various benefits associated with this weight loss surgery. One is that unlike other types of bariatric surgery, banding can be reversed. It does not interfere with nutrient intake, and it does not require the stomach or small intestines to be cut.
As with any type of surgery, however, there are some disadvantages to be aware of, too. One is that banding produces a lower overall weight loss than other types of weight loss surgery. The weight loss associated with this surgery happens more slowly than it does for other types of surgery. This makes it an ideal choice for people who are not at a high risk of medical complications and who are not morbidly obese. Since this surgery places a foreign object in the body, there is a risk of complications from the object, such as mechanical problems and corrosion. The band can also slip out of place, which requires surgery to fix.
There are a number of weight loss surgeries available, and each one has its own unique set of pros and cons. If you have been told that you are obese, morbidly obese, or at a high risk of medical complications from carrying excess weight, then one of these weight loss surgeries may be a good option to explore. As with any type of surgery, you will have to consult with your doctor to figure out which one is the best choice for you.
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